Friday, June 6, 2008

Off to Dublin, off the Isle

With all we'd seen on the northern half of Ireland, we decided to try to make a southern half only itinerary. There were a couple of problems but mostly that the ferries simply don't work well or often enough from the Isle of Man and that there is too much traffic and poor riding inbetween the good stuff. So Phil decided that we would take Ireland out of the equation.

We beelined to Dublin to book a ferry to Holyhead, Wales the next morning. It sure was fun to be driving in an unfamiliar city of 2 million people at quitting time. I can't fathom doing that commute daily.

After booking a ferry, we secured lodging for the night and went off to have a pint. Our guesthouse was in the city center which is one huge pedestrian mall. The streets are still the narrow cobblestone of the city's founding.

It was suprisingly clean, few homeless, no beggars, and no litter. It was also packed. I'm sure it would be easy for a half-way decent pickpocket to make a respectable living cuz you couldn't help but get bumped once in awhile.

We stopped off in the Temple to enjoy a pint while Dublin walked by the window. The pub is just under 200 years old and the dingy sort of place one imagines the likes of Joyce writing in/about. And man, was it hopping.

We spent the rest of the night walking around and ducking in here or there to soak up local color. By local I mean international. People from all over obviously call Dublin home. We heard many different languages and it was easy to tell the locals from the tourists.

An early ferry put us in Holyhead, Wales by 1100 hours. Our plan was to get to the Liverpool ferry dock and start a GPS route from there(because that's where the ferry would arrive from Isle of Man in the new itinerary.)

We ran into lots of road construction on the way. They often had one lane closed for several miles with no visible sign of work occuring. It is legal to split lanes with motorcycles here and that is what we were doing in the stop and go traffic.

Things were going swimmingly until a semi-tractor hit me at slow speed but hard enough to knock my panier off and my bike to the ground. I was unhurt. I picked the bike up and parked it in the closed lane so I could grab the panier. The trucker didn't bother to stop and lots of people yelled really sweet things to me.

Once I had the panier reattached via webbing, I learned that the bike wouldn't start. That's how I came to be in this hotel lobby waiting for Phil to come and rescue me.

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